BPF party activist, sentenced to 5 years in prison, died in detention
Date of birth: 13 October 1970
Date of detention: 19 September 2020
Art. 342 of the Criminal Code - Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them
Art. 364 of the Criminal Code - Violence or threat of violence against an employee of the internal affairs bodies
Sentence: 5 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a general-security penal colony
Judge: Maksim Filatau
Vitold Ashurak was an opposition activist from the town of Biarozauka, Lida district. Ashurak was a member of the BPF Party and local coordinator of the opposition movement "For Freedom". He repeatedly ran for local councils and for parliament. Ashurak engaged in environmental issues, campaigning against the harmful production of glass wool. Together with his associates, he honored the memorial places of Kalinouski's insurgents: they put crosses at the rebels' burial places all over Hrodna region. For a long time, he worked as a blower at a glass factory and also renovated apartments.
He was charged under Article 342, Part 1 (participation in group actions grossly violating public order) and Article 364 (violence against a police officer) of the Criminal Code.
Without explaining the specific reasons, Judge Maksim Filatau ordered to conduct the trial behind closed doors, citing Article 23 of the Constitution and a "threat to state security." He eventually sentenced Vitold Ashurak to 5 years in a general-security penal colony.
On May 21, 2021, Vitold Ashurak died aged 50 while serving his sentence in a penal colony in Škloŭ. The reported cause of death is cardiac arrest.